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Full Session: Bible Exposition - Ephesians 3

Author: John Piper
Date: 24.09.2010
Category: Scripture Engagement, World Faiths

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Originally Posted in English



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In ’The Love of Jesus Revealed,’ animated scenes from the Bible present the gospel and are illustrated by testimonies of believers.

American evangelical author John Piper expounds on Ephesians 3. He summarises it in three scenes that portray the cosmic wisdom and mystery of God’s plan, the value of suffering and the power of prayer.

American evangelical author John Piper continues his discussion of Ephesians 3. He addresses the mystery of the gospel and the wrath of God that Christ took upon himself. God appoints suffering and prayer as a means for declaring his glory.

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Keywords: Ephesians, John Piper, full session, world faiths, Cape Town 2010

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim731 (0)
United States

From the DG transcription: "

The other truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it awakens us to the horrible reality of eternal suffering in hell, under the wrath of a just and omnipotent God. And it impels us to rescue the perishing, and to warn people to flee from the wrath to come."

"Most of the peoples of the world where the church is not yet planted, don’t want us to come and bring the gospel. But they will perish if the gospel does not reach them."

What is interesting about these statements from Piper is that they completely contradict his own doctrines of unconditional election and limited atonement. He is doing nothing less than implying that our "warnings," or lack of them, could actually change the eternal destiny of someone, which by his own doctrines has already been decided by God before they were ever born. He admonishes us to care about "eternal suffering" but he apparently forgets, or conveniently ignores, the fact that God has already decided to subject the non-elect to eternal suffering, and that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change that fact.


29.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Martin_Tlustos (0)
Austria
@ Jim731:

no, they actually don’t - your interpretation of those statements does, though (my interpretation doesn’t).


One more case of misunderstanding between different theological concepts that could have been prevented by trying to understand what the other person says instead of reading into it what I would have meant if I would have said these words... (I have been guilty of this myself numerous times, so I’m no better at this point anyway).


29.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim731 (0)
United States
@ Martin_Tlustos:

My friend, please show me where I am wrong. I have read many of Piper’s sermons and books, as well as his own Statement of Faith, and know for a fact that he believes in predestination - the "elect" to heaven, the "non-elect" to hell. For him to tell Christians to "work to relieve eternal suffering" is the same as telling them to work against what he himself believes is God’s will - that the non-elect should suffer forever.


30.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Martin_Tlustos (0)
Austria
@ Jim731:

I’m not saying that he is not a calvinist. I am saying, though that it is not a contradiction to be a calvinist and still care for the lost. It is also not a contradiction that God loves all humankind and still be in total control over who gets to heaven and who doesn’t (at least not from a calvinist point of view. It very likely is a problem from your point of view, as can be seen... ;-)


30.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim731 (0)
United States
@ Martin_Tlustos:

Yes, I would have to say that it is a big problem from my point of view that God hates most of my fellow man - His own creations - and is planning to damn them to eternal torment.


The question is, why isn’t that a big problem for you? Do you actually believe that God "loves" those who He has predestined to eternal hell? If so you need to redefine "love," for you certainly have a different understanding of it than I do.


30.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Martin_Tlustos (0)
Austria
@ Jim731:

The argument between Calvinists and Arminianists has been going on for several centuries now - with leading theologians on both sides that both of us just can’t measure with. So, finishing of Pipers position in just a few lines sounds somewhat presumptuous to me. That was the main point I was responding to, not your position.


I actually don’t believe that Calvinism as a system is "right" - but neither is Arminianism. My position is that the tension between those two positions (for both of which many many verses of Scripture can be found to back up their position) is the much more living expression of a truth that is within God and that is way too big for us to comprehend. Who knows everything about eternal matters? Who understands God and his wisdom and his plans? We’re all just like blind people stumbling around in the dark when it comes to such questions. And the Bible just doesn’t give us all the answers, because it wasn’t written for this purpose. It was written to invite and support people in their daily dependency on God.


And as a support of my daily dependency on God and his grace alone, both Calvinism and Arminianism have to offer some good advice.


30.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim731 (0)
United States
@ Martin_Tlustos:

Martin, I appreciate your insight and honesty, but I couldn’t care less if my views "measure with leading theologians" for no one has the corner on God’s truth. The last time I checked God was not teaching a single class at any seminary, so I consider that they are only teaching the "traditions of men." Paul disagreed with every "leading theologian" of his time (and in fact had been one himself) because he received his words as a revelation from God, NOT from men.


Why do you limit yourself to Calvinism and Arminianism as the only two possible views? You are certainly correct that both have many verses which seem to support them, but there are many more as well that support the view that God is actually working towards the "restitution of ALL things," not just SOME as Calvinism and Arminianism would have you believe. Why not assume that God is GOOD, that He has the best interests of ALL His creatures at heart, and will not fail to bring ALL into a loving relationship with Himself? Wouldn’t that be truly GOOD news?


I would agree with you that both Calvinism and Arminianism have "good advice" to offer, but in the end they either declare that God CAN save all men but WON’T, or that He WANTS to save all men but CAN’T.


If you don’t believe that Calvinism is "right," perhaps it is in its assertion that election and atonement is LIMITED to a select few. If instead you believe that God DESIRES to save all men, can you name a single person whom you believe is beyond God’s power to heal and redeem?


If so then you are simply expressing your own lack of faith in God.


01.12.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down zdmc23 (0)
United States

Aloha,

I also agree that Dr. Piper had a "behind the scenes" agenda, and he openly said as much (when he discussed re-writing a portion of his talk).

So what?  If not now, when?  Lausanne is one of the biggest stages, and this conference comes precisely at the moment when many Christians are struggling to figure out whether the primary mission of the Church is to "proclaim the gospel" or to "promote justice/shalom".

Historically, Dr. Piper has done a good job at coming up with succinct statements to express more complex realities (i.e., God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him).  So if there is a tension between "proclamation" and "justice", and John feels that he can offer some help, then I thank God that he took a few minutes to deviate from the Ephesians 3 Exposition.

"Christians care about all human suffering, especially eternal suffering."  A’men!

Peace and grace, Zach


26.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim731 (0)
United States
@ zdmc23:

"Christians care about all human suffering, especially eternal suffering."  A’men!


Yes, that certainly sounds good. But if you are a Calvinist haven’t you already admitted that God does not care about the eternal suffering of the non-elect in that He plans to do nothing about it?


30.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim731 (0)
United States

From the DG transcription: "The other truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it awakens us to the horrible reality of eternal suffering in hell, under the wrath of a just and omnipotent God. And it impels us to rescue the perishing, and to warn people to flee from the wrath to come "

"Most of the peoples of the world where the church is not yet planted, don’t want us to come and bring the gospel. But they will perish if the gospel does not reach them."

What is interesting about these statements from Piper is that they completely contradict his own doctrines of unconditional election and limited atonement. With his "warnings" he is implying the possibility that the eternal destiny of an elect or non-elect could ever be changed by our efforts or lack of them. And by his admonition that we should care about the eternal sufferings of others, and work to relieve them, he is denying his own doctrines which clearly state that God has already decided who will suffer eternally in hell, and that there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to change that fact.


29.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down italker (1)   
United Kingdom

t would have been interesting to have had a bit more contextualisation. What a wonderful example the church in South Africa has been under the leadership of Desmond Tutu in bringing about peace and reconciliation. There was a great illustration of the suffering church facing the demonic power of Apartheid that unfortunately Dr Piper didn’t pick up. there was also the unsearchable riches of Christ displayed in bringing about a peaceful solution in a country where the leaders in prison like Mandela where the inspiration of their nation. As one who attended the Congress I think too few of the speakers engaged with their  themes in the context of South Africa’s past troubled history and i think there was a great rich seam that could have been mined in our midst as we lived and moved around capetown.


02.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down CRoxburgh (0)  
Canada

Brothers and Sisters
A Brother rightly called me to account for my comments of yesterday about John exposition of the text. I am glad for their challenge and have apologized to John. My question should have been to him alone and my action brought disunity rather than the unity we have in Christ. I ask your forgiveness for this careless action as well.
Thanks for your grace
Cam


24.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down KneelYoung (0)
United States
@ CRoxburgh:

Brother Cameron,


Brother Cameron redeemed,


Brother Cameron No longer a child of wrath,


I don’t know anything about behind the scene "agenda". I do know that front and center the Prince of the air desires to conquer , divide and kill. Clearly a gathering of brothers and sisiters in Jesus puts his agenda  on a heightened prowl. Pastor John’s message spoke to not having to make a choice between the sufferings/injustice of our present world and the eternal sufferings of a life apart from Christ. It opened my eyes to my own small selfish view. Glad Brother Cam we all in our in this fight together! Even more glad that we are in Christ!


KY


24.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down MUELLER (0)
Germany
@ CRoxburgh:

It is not so easy to further discuss with John. This is unfortunatly the second negative reply I got:


Dear Muller,


 


Thank you for contacting Desiring God with your request to speak with John Piper.  We are sorry to say that connecting with him is not possible.  He is currently on an extended leave until January 2011, and is unable to see to requests like this.  When he returns from his leave, he will be engaged back into full time ministry at Bethlehem Baptist, and the needs at the church prevent him from being able to accept requests like this.  We sincerely apologize, and thank you for understanding.    


 


May the God of Hope Fill You With All Joy and Peace in Believing,



Desiring God

PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402-0901

Toll Free (888)346-4700
Local (612)435-2499
Fax (612)338-4372


30.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Martin_Tlustos (0)
Austria

I thoroughly enjoyed John Pipers message. I disagree with one point, though: He said that all that he talked about will come to us only through prayer. I would rather say: It is received by faith - and this faith is expressed through a prayer like the one Paul prayed.

Otherwise prayer becomes another law that will fail to overcome the power of our flesh as all laws do


28.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down bethbarnett (0)  
Australia

Piper attempts to join the idea of caring about all kinds of suffering equally, both the present and historical suffering of victims of injustice in the world, and the eternal and future suffering of the recipients of God’s judgement in Hell, raphically defined as eternal fire.

The neatness of christians caring about and responding to both the temporal human suffering across the planet in front of us, and the eternal suffering of condemned souls in the future requires further examination (and critique) as to whether it forms a valid coherent theological pairing.

Our responsibilities and capacities in these two types of suffering are different. Contemporary human suffering is our common responsibility. People suffer in the world because of human actions, which we have a corporate responsibility towards.

The suffering of eternity in Dr. Piper’s thought is necessarily the responsibility of God. God is judge, God alone holds the power of Salvation. Laying the burden of eternal suffering of others on us is (almost) usurping of God’s sovereignty.

The call to gospel proclamation is unequivocal, not because of the threat of damnation, but because of Truth. We declare what we know (in cognition, experience and revelation). Proclamation (and incarnation) of goodnews, sight to the blind, freedom to prisoners and the era of the favour of the Lord (Luke 4) is imperative for followers of Jesus because that is what Jesus did. And as Jesus did all things out of love, so too do we his followers share justice, grace and truth from the resources of love, not threat or fear.

While in outcome I agree with Piper - communicate the gospel story of reconciliation, and bind the wounds of the broken - these actions do not sit in tension, but are deeply connected in the one story, .


27.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down jimlyndon (0)
United States

Behind the scenes agenda?  I think he’s right on point - we need to be eternally minded in concern for people’s salvation and also we need to be mindful of their current situation, the "social need" of a person.  Of course a speaker’s philosophical leanings will come through in a talk, but anything beyond what the speaker says bluntly and I think you’re in jeopardy of simply looking to be controversial.


23.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag -1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down CRoxburgh (0)  
Canada

I was sad that the behind the scenes agenda of the question of the gospel took front stage in this talk. John did a very good job drawing me in to what he had to say but when he went through the "2nd sermon"and left the text and went to 1 Cor. 15 in an effort to platform his perspective, I was disappointed. The gospel is mentioned and developed even in the text of Ephesians 3 in a broader context than Paukl does in 1 Cor. 15. There seems to have been a lot of agenda driven content in many of the talks... i have been a little saddened by this


23.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down aarontrank (0)
United States

Conerning Israel: God does not break His promises||I have read and appreciated John Piper for many years, but during his exposition of Ephesians 3 I was disappointed to hear him speak what I consider to be a supersessionist statement: "...the Church has inherited ALL of the promises of Israel."
I understand that this conference represents a wide variety of theological positions, but as a Jewish person, it pains me to hear this viewpoint espoused from such a significant leader of the church in the USA. I believe that when you misrepresent the Church’s relationship to the covenant made by God with Israel, you cannot appreciate the power and significance of the Gentile’s inclusion in the New Covenant that God made with the Jewish people.
Read Jeremiah 31:31-34. The New Covenant was made with the house of Israel and Judah. Of course Jesus loves us all; of course God’s salvation through the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah is for everyone: this is the great mystery that Paul declared in Ephesians 3:9 – that God’s salvation is available to everyone, that the Gentiles would be included in the New Covenant promise of knowing God, that the Church would be made up of both Jew and Gentile. But, we must not forget who the New Covenant was made with. God’s plan included a nation set apart – a distinct people – Abraham’s physical children who would inherit the physical inheritance that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s plan also included His name being glorified by all people of the world. Read Solomon’s prayer to God regarding the Gentiles who would worship the God of Israel at the Temple:
2 Chronicles 6:32-33
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this temple, 33 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. ”
The election of Israel is irrevocable because God is true. There has been, and always will be a remnant of Israel who follow God in the way that God requires. God sent the Messiah Jesus as His means of providing us with atonement for sin. God has provided this atonement for sin to EVERYONE who simply accepts it. God calls those of us who have accepted His atonement into a life of obedience and discipleship. Those of us who accept God’s atonement through the Messiah, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, are part of the Body of Messiah: the Church. God has promised salvation to us through faith in the Messiah. God’s promise of salvation to us is irrevocable because God is true. If God can break his promise to Israel, then He can break His promise to you too… Good thing God doesn’t break his promises.
Aaron Trank


22.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Gary_Frost (0)  
United States

Piper’s Exposition||Piper was right on target


22.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Cody_Lorance (13)   
United States

Table discussion||God-centeredness was again a major theme at our table. We agree with the statement, "As Christians we care about all human suffering, especially eternal suffering."


22.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Christine_Tennant (3)  
United States

the highlight for me so far||John Piper’s exposition was music to my heart. I am so grateful to have heard him, and his humility and earnest desire to speak to both persuasions (those with a stronger "works" pull and those with a stronger "word" pull) and offer a challenge to both perspectives, nailed the mark. He was as faithful to the text of Ephesians 3 as any I have ever heard. I am edified and encouraged and spurred on to serve God and mankind in word and deed.


20.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Elias_Fahur (0)  
Brazil

answer ||1.a- to feel the same soffering the Paul could feel by the unreached people(gentiles). What was mistery was disclosed today.
1.b- Distinguish materil riches from spiritual riches, what is reach by grace through the gospel of Jesus.


20.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down baravalleh (0)  
Argentina

Misterio||Gracias a Dios por la revelacion que le dio a Pablo sobre El Eterno Proposito de Dios. La salvacion de todos para formar una gran familia de Hijos iguales a Jesus.


20.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down baravalleh (0)  
Argentina

Misterio||Gracias a Dios por la revelacion que le dio a Pablo sobre El Eterno Proposito de Dios. La salvacion de todos para formar una gran familia de Hijos iguales a Jesus.


20.10.2010

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PhContributeBy Cape Town 2010 Communications Team
 
Location: Cape Town
Country: South Africa

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